What Happens To Guide Dogs That Don’t Make It?
We don’t believe in failure! The dogs we train are specially bred for their temperament and suitability for the role. This means we rarely have dogs that have to be withdrawn from the program.
Occasionally, some dogs are not suited for the responsibility and demands of being a Guide Dog or are withdrawn for health reasons.
If that does happen, we try and reassign them to a different role that better suits their skills, personality or their own health needs.
A buddy dog is one of our dogs that for some reason was not able to complete the training for some reason, but still has an excellent level of obedience and some guiding instincts. We still want to ensure these dogs can be used so they become ‘Buddy Dogs’. They are suitable for people with conditions where they are going blind, or for blind young people who are not yet able to have a Guide Dog. Having a buddy dog can give them experience of being with a dog day to day, how to look after one and a confidence boost having a companion can give.
Currently, we only have 1 working buddy dog, Bridie who is with Valentin, a young man who is losing his sight. Bridie had started her training to be a Guide Dog but did not like the harness and was scared when she heard some loud noises.
An assistance dog can help a person in a specific way. Thanks to the intense training and puppy raising procedure our dogs go through, they are very attached to people which means even though they may not make it as a Guide Dog they can make great assistance dogs. We are currently training some of our dogs to become assistance dogs for children with autism.
An assistance dog for a child with autism can support the child’s development. It can be a way for the child to start communicating and knowing they have a friend in the dog. Being with the dog can give the child confidence and companionship. The dog can also be a great way to unite and bond a family where a child has autism.